Ryan Curl (Best Man)
Ryan had an interesting take on the role of "older brother." In the early years, he viewed his primary role as tormenter and spent a lot of time trying to see how many different ways he could make me cry. Being called a "dinky-doko" makes me dissolve into tears to this day. I suppose he was trying to toughen me up, but as we matured, so did our relationship. When I started to think about the world beyond the Iowa farmstead, Ryan was there to tell me about good books and movies and public radio and a lot of good things that I consider a big part of my life now. We're both very serious about plaid (see above). Ryan lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Kari (my favorite sister-in-law!), so we get to hang out often. I'm proud and honored to have him standing with me on the big day.
When we were younger, Natalie and I shared a lot of time watching and re-watching (and re-watching) movies and late night TV sketches we thought were funny. When we weren't watching these bits, we spent our time repeating the funniest lines. Now Natalie is all grown up with a family. She's a wonderful mom with great kids. When we get together, we still joke around, and I seek out advice on how to be an adult (a work in progress). Natalie is always warm and incredibly patient with my quirks and eccentric interests. She also has an incredible memory, particularly when it comes to stupid stuff I did as a kid. What cheese?
Katie and I met each other through the theatre department at Coe. One of my earliest memories of Katie is doing an impression of Dave Letterman: "Uh, hey, you, uh, got any gum?!" (See above photo.) Katie has the rare ability to combine a silly spirit with the discipline to achieve her ambitions. Most mornings, Katie wakes up, walks outside, looks to the sky, and says, "Hey, hey. Hey, what's going on world? I'm gonna kick your ass! That's what!" Katie has always helped keep me from taking myself too seriously while also holding me accountable for my bullshit (a never-ending task). She grew up in Kansas and currently lives in Virginia, so don't be surprised if she lets out an occasional "whoop" during the ceremony.
Eugenides always keeps me on my toes. Unlike the rest of us lemmings, Eugenides never follows a tradition or a way of doing things just because that's the way everyone else does it. He thinks about what makes the most sense and also follows what's true to himself. Often it requires a lot of work and fortitude, and I've always deeply admired his integrity. Also, Eugenides laughs at my poop/fart jokes, which also requires fortitude. I have so many great memories of late nights in the Coe Writing Center, BSing with Eugenides about pretty much every topic under the sun (anything to keep us from working on whatever papers we needed to finish for the next day). Although I'm a hermitically-inclined introvert, Eugenides always makes the effort to hang out with me.
Harry Matthias Peterson-Brandt
Matthias is such a cool guy, he needs a bazilion names to handle all the coolness. I still don't know how, but I convinced Matthias to be my roommate for our sophomore year at Coe, and we lived together during college from that point onward. Almost all of my fondest college memories involve Matthias. We shared a lot of laughs and deep conversations together. As a roommate, Matthias was always there to talk about a movie, a short story idea, a lit paper, or life. Whatever the situation, Matthias always provided a steady hand of friendship. Amazingly, though, he also knows how to let loose and have fun. He's currently studying at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, so I'm starting my own church for him to pastor. In case you're interested in joining, the church will be called the United Friend's House of Sandwiches. It will be delicious, just like Matthias.
Aside from Joe Mauer, Brandon is the sportiest friend I have. He likes sports. He likes all sorts. I only follow one sport: baseball, but most of what I know about baseball I learned from Brandon. We met working in the Coe Writing Center, but our friendship grew when we started a gang together (less a gang, more a circus sideshow). Brandon's gang nickname was Ishy, short for Ishmael, derived from the growth Brandon was sporting on his face at the time. He's smarter than he tries to make people believe, but Brandon always keeps it down to earth. He's a great friend and always fun to be around. Brandon is a fierce defender of his homeland, Chicago and, as such, taught me how to eat a Chicago-dog properly (no ketchup). We also share a passionate love of cured meats and Sandy Cohen.